$45 Trillion Needed to Combat Warming
Jun 6 , 2008 -Joseph
Coleman - Excite News
TOKYO (AP) - The world needs to invest $45 trillion
in energy in coming decades, build some 1,400 nuclear
power plants and vastly expand wind power in order
to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according
to an energy study released Friday.
The report by the Paris-based International Energy
Agency envisions a "energy revolution" that
would greatly reduce the world's dependence on fossil
fuels while maintaining steady economic growth.
"Meeting this target of 50 percent cut in emissions
represents a formidable challenge, and we would require
immediate policy action and technological transition
on an unprecedented scale," IEA Executive Director
Nobuo Tanaka said.
A U.N.-network of scientists concluded last year
that emissions have to be cut by at least half by
2050 to avoid an increase in world temperatures of
between 3.6 and 4.2 degrees above pre-18th century
Scientists say temperature increases beyond that
could trigger devastating effects, such as widespread
loss of species, famines and droughts, and swamping
of heavily populated coastal areas by rising oceans.
Environment ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized
countries and Russia backed the 50 percent target
in a meeting in Japan last month and called for it
to be officially endorsed at the G-8 summit in July.
The IEA report mapped out two main scenarios: one
in which emissions are reduced to 2005 levels by
2050, and a second that would bring them to half
of 2005 levels by mid-century.
The scenario for deeper cuts would require massive
investment in energy technology development and deployment,
a wide-ranging campaign to dramatically increase
energy efficiency, and a wholesale shift to renewable
sources of energy.
Assuming an average 3.3 percent global economic
growth over the 2010-2050 period, governments and
the private sector would have to make additional
investments of $45 trillion in energy, or 1.1 percent
of the world's gross domestic product, the report
That would be an investment more than three times
the current size of the entire U.S. economy.
The second scenario also calls for an accelerated
ramping up of development of so-called "carbon
capture and storage" technology allowing coal-powered
power plants to catch emissions and inject them underground.
The study said that an average of 35 coal-powered
plants and 20 gas-powered power plants would have
to be fitted with carbon capture and storage equipment
each year between 2010 and 2050.
In addition, the world would have to construct 32
new nuclear power plants each year, and wind-power
turbines would have to be increased by 17,000 units
annually. Nations would have to achieve an eight-fold
reduction in carbon intensity - the amount of carbon
needed to produce a unit of energy - in the transport
Such action would drastically reduce oil demand
to 27 percent of 2005 demand. Failure to act would
lead to a doubling of energy demand and a 130 percent
increase in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, IEA
"This development is clearly not sustainable," said
Dolf Gielen, an IEA energy analyst and leader for
Gielen said most of the $45 trillion forecast investment
- about $27 trillion - would be borne by developing
countries, which will be responsible for two-thirds
of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Most of the money would be in the commercialization
of energy technologies developed by governments and
the private sector.
"If industry is convinced there will be policy
for serious, deep CO2 emission cuts, then these investments
will be made by the private sector," Gielen